Retinoblastoma specialists agree that early diagnosis of eye cancer is a child’s best hope of survival, retaining some vision or their eye. Yet around the world, thousands of children die, and more than half of children who are cured lose at least one eye. We consider the potential and limitations of six solutions to improve early diagnosis.
The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat, often requiring less intense therapy and fewer invasive procedures that have lower cost physically, emotionally and financially. Awareness of childhood cancer is key to achieving early diagnosis, saving lives and limiting the burden of cancer treatment on the child, family and wider society.
Recently, a number of people have asked why we promote the childhood cancer gold ribbon and not a ribbon uniquely for retinoblastoma. This is a good question – here are our three key reasons…
Children with retinoblastoma are much more than a medical specimen. To achieve complete cure, we must consider them as a whole person, not just an eye or a body to be treated. A single word can completely change our focus.
People often ask me incredulously “why would parents refuse eye removed surgery if it’s the only way to save their child’s life?” This is a very important question. Understanding the complex answers helps us care for families to ensure children have the best chance of cure.
Two children. The same affliction. Drastically different outcomes. Yet each story represents the most common reality for children with retinoblastoma in these respective parts of the world.